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November 14, 2011

13th Annual SEBIO Investor Forum a Huge Success

Filed under: SEBIO News — admin @ 6:34 pm

ATLANTA, GA - Nearly 400 people attended Southeast BIO’s (SEBIO) Thirteenth Annual Investor Forum, the region’s premier life sciences conference, held on November 2-3, 2011. Venture capitalists and angel investors connected with executives, life science entrepreneurs, university representatives and industry professionals in Durham, North Carolina to discuss opportunities for growth of the life sciences industry in the coming years.

“SEBIO continues to be the forum that draws all of the key members of the Southeast’s life science ecosystem: investors, entrepreneurs, technology transfer professionals and the life science business community come together in support of companies from across the Southeast,” said Aaron Davidson, Managing Director of H.I.G. Capital, Co-Head of H.I.G. BioVentures and newly elected Chair of SEBIO. “The Investor Forum provides a very efficient opportunity for the emerging leaders of tomorrow’s biopharmaceutical, medical technology and diagnostic companies to network with the other leaders of our ecosystem.”

Fred Eshelman, Founder and Executive Chairman of PPD, kicked off the two-day “Data Driven Deals” event by sharing highlights of his 20 year voyage of taking PPD from a one person start-up to the $3.9 billion buyout offer.

Jim Mullen, CEO of Patheon, closed the conference by offering his insights on how today’s pressures on the big pharma business model will impact cost structures in the future. The attendees were given a treat when North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell unveiled the $35 million “Accelerator” investment fund, targeted for life sciences start-ups, at the event’s closing luncheon.

Twenty-eight of the most promising life sciences companies in the Southeast presented their funding pitches to representatives of more than 30 venture funds from across the U.S. The more advanced companies who have completed at least one round of institutional financing presented on the SEBIO MAIN/Stage. Twenty of the companies, as participants in the EARLY/Stage program or BIO/Plan Competition, were the beneficiaries of expert mentoring from teams made up of active venture capitalists and angel investors, entrepreneurs and managers, and service providers with relevant start-up expertise.

The EARLY/Stage program, geared for the best new initial investment opportunities in the region, allowed participants to introduce their companies to and seek advice from onsite advisory teams, who then chose the four best to participate in the EARLY/Stage Company Shootout on November 2. The selected participants were Arbovax, Inc. (Raleigh, NC), Claro Scientific, LLC (St. Petersburg, FL), Clinical Sensors, Inc. (Chapel Hill, NC) and NellOne Therapeutics, Inc. (Oak Ridge, TN).

Claro Scientific, LLC was selected as the winner of the EARLY/Stage Shootout by a panel of celebrity judges representing four venture capital funds. Claro Scientific is developing a portable, low cost, real time point of care diagnostic system for medical and research applications. The members of the Claro Scientific management team include Thomas McLain, CEO, and Luis Garcia-Rubio, President and CSO.

SEBIO also announced the winner of its fifth annual BIO/Plan Competition, which brings forward some of the most promising new technologies from the region’s research organizations. Four final competitors (CureSwitch, LLC, University of Florida; Infusense, LLC, University of Tennessee Health Science Center; Transcatheter Valve Technologies, Emory University; and ViaMune, Inc., University of Georgia) were selected from ten semifinalists who underwent a rigorous mentoring process over the past four months to develop an executable business strategy and associated written development plan.

The winner of the 2011 BIO/Plan Competition is Transcatheter Valve Technologies (TVT), a project developed at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. TVT is a percutaneous mitral valve replacement technology. The principals associated with TVT include Muralidhar Padala, Inventor, and James Greene, Industry Consultant.

The winning TVT mentoring team includes Bob Crutchfield, Harbert Venture Partners, John Perchorowicz, Triage Masters, and Harold Shlevin, Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech.

The 2012 Southeast BIO Investor Forum will be held October 31 – November 1, 2012 at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Further details will be posted on the SEBIO website (

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